Washington News Highlights for January
Washington Mountain Community Cut Off All Week
The year began with a remote community in a mountainous area of Washington State being cut off for several days. This led to the residents stranded by the weather to be dependent on volunteers to bring in food and essential supplies. The community in the Cascade Mountains town of Skykomish was trapped by a sudden downfall of over three feet of snow which left the 1,000 residents, and those of some neighboring communities being left in darkness after power supplies failed. No electricity resulted in well pumps failing to work and caused many residents to be short of water too. It took several days for trees that had fallen on power lines to be removed.
Washington Man was First in the US to Catch Virus from China
January also saw the first case of what we came to know as COVID-19 in the United States, a Snohomish County resident. This did not seem too momentous at the time but the pandemic that followed was to shape the news agenda for the rest of the year. Until the point, the breakout of COVID-19 had just been in China with 440 infected and nine deaths. This was soon to alter as the virus took hold in Washington and around the world.
Washington News Highlights for February
Runner breaks ankle on a remote trail in Washington
February began with an inspiring and heroic tale of a runner in a remote area in Washington State, who fell and broke his ankle. The 26-year-old man had been running on a trail near Olympic Park, to the west of Seattle when he injured himself. There was no cell service at the location and so the determined young man crawled for eight hours until he reached somewhere with cell service. At around 1 am. on Saturday morning, help was dispatched and he was found 4 hours from the head of the trail. He was taken to the hospital by helicopter after he was found dressed only in light clothing.
Grab & Go Cashless Shopping Opens in Seattle
More exciting new developments for Washington when Amazon opened its first FULL-SIZED Grab & Go store in Seattle, The store was the latest in the chain piloted by Amazon in 2018 when they opened a convenience store sized outlet that featured the new technology that allows individuals who have downloaded the Amazon Go App to enter the store by scanning a barcode. Once inside the store, everything the shopper picks up and bags is monitored by overhead cameras. When done shopping you are emailed a receipt for your purchase.
Continuing Washington News Highlights
COVID-19 Death Toll Reaches 6
COVID-19 Deaths Reached 6 Across the USA, Four of Which Were in Washington State. March 2019 saw 18 cases, 14 in King County, and 4 in Snohomish County. King County was home to the Kirkland Life-Care Center facility where there has been an outbreak. Local Health Care authorities were just beginning to realize the coming impact of this disease.
Seahawk’s Russel Wilson Donates 1 Million Meals
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russel Wilson announced that he was donating one million meals to those affected by the COVID-19 Virus. Russel, partnering with the Seattle Food lifeline who works with 300 food banks, shelters, and food programs. Russel’s wife Clara appealed for others to make donations. This was still early days in the Pandemic and the young couple should be praised for taking such prompt action, bringing attention to what was going on.
Continuing Washington News Highlights into the second quarter
As the COVID-19 crisis was becoming more serious and taking center stage, other news items were not given as much prominence as they normally would. One other news item was reported in April, with few people realizing that it was the beginning of another big story for the state.
Leavenworth Bush Fire
As April was getting into its stride, reports of a bush fire just outside Leavenworth was reported. The fire was tackled by crews from Fire Districts 3 and 6 and it remained active well into the evening on Sunday. The fire was named “The Alpenhof Fire.” People were unaware that it was the precursor of a series of serious fires to come.
Virtual Bellingham Arts Scene
More than thirty artists got together to create the Whatcom Arts Project. Since real-life performance spaces have been dark since March the artists have created an online space for the Arts, The project is assisting people to make virtual visits to galleries, learn Art online, listen to musical performances, and much more. This was just one of several new projects to try and counter the effects of COVID-19 on the community. A demonstration of the community working together and using Washington Mindset Coaching to help spread the word.
Washington News reviewed with some good and bad news for Washington
Hunting Murder Hornets in Washington
Asian Giant hornets became active in Washington State during April and were the cause of great concern. These giant hornets are the largest in the world and if someone receives multiple stings it can be fatal. Even more serious is the fact that the hornets are a major threat to the European Honey bee and beekeepers’ livelihoods are at threat. Washington State University has been trying to combat these predators. In Japan fifty people a year die from these hornets. The University is trying to educate people about these hornets and has offered designs of homemade hornet traps so that people can assist in their destruction.
$7 Billion Hit to State Revenue
May 2020 saw an unofficial report that suggested that the Pandemic will cost Washington more than $7 billion up until the end of 2023. It was clear that Washington lawmakers would need to make some tough choices to keep the state economy moving. This would mean painful cuts to parks, schools, prisons, and other programs.
Amazon Turns a Seattle Office Building into a Homeless Shelter
Amazon Turned an Amazon Seattle Office Building into a permanent homeless shelter. Amazon partnered with non-profit “Mary’s Place” and has created a family shelter inside one of Amazon’s office buildings. The center will be kept separate from the main office building by the use of a separate entrance and acoustic isolation. The family center has eight floors and 63,000 square feet. The center accommodated 50 families at the launch later expanding to 100.
Continuing Washington News Highlights
The Skyline Drive-in Theater in Shelton
One of the four Drive-in Movie Theaters in western Washington was able to reopen, with a few restrictions. The Drive-in opened at 7 pm and the first film began at 9:30 pm. At just $5 per vehicle, it was excellent value and much-needed relief from the doom and gloom. Getting out of the house was a great relief for many people.
Statewide Mask Mandate – Helping Each Other
On June 26th the state enacted a new mandate making it law that citizens wear masks at all indoor public events and at some outdoor ones too. The law did not apply to children under two or those with existing medical conditions that make mask-wearing impossible. It was permissible to remove the face covering while eating or drinking at a restaurant, or communicating with someone who is deaf. Considering that 37 of the first fifty deaths from COVID-19 in the USA were in Washington State, the state has been taking the pandemic very seriously/
Washington News in the summer
Seattle Unleashes the Kraken
July 2020 saw the name of the long-awaited new NHL team in Seattle announced. In an acknowledgment of Seattle’s maritime past, the team has been called Kraken. The team will be playing at the newly renovated “Climate Pledge” Stadium (named by Amazon). The city was awarded an NHL franchise in 2018 and since then there had been speculation about the name. This was the NHL’s 32nd franchise. The team’s logo was also announced.
Washington News in the summer
Police Chief Carmen Best Quits
Following cuts in the police budget by the city council Police Chief Carmen Best resigned, just two years after she took the job. The salaries of high-ranking officers, including Best, had been slashed by the council to balance the books. Deputy Chief Adrian Diaz took over the role as an interim measure.
Dallas Cowboys Owner’s Mega yacht Docks in Seattle
Jerry Jones the billionaire owner of the Dallas Cowboys docked his 357 feet, $250 million yacht in Seattle. The Bravo Eugenia (named after Jones’ wife) is as long as a football field. Nobody was expecting the yacht and no information was given about how long it was staying or why it was here. It was quite a sight to see though.
Emerald City Comic-Con
In March, when the Emerald City Comic Con was first set to take place, they announced it had been postponed to August 2020. However, Following discussions with the venue and exhibitors, and fans; it was decided that the August 2020 event would not take place. The 2020 Emerald City Comic Con has been canceled. The next event will instead take place in March 2021. Another victim of the pandemic.
Amazon Expands Virtual healthcare Throughout Washington State
Amazon Care is a pilot medical clinic for employees. The company reviewed the pilot and is offering the scheme to Amazon employees throughout the state of Washington. Amazon Care is a virtual health clinic that is open to Amazon Staff and their dependents. The care plan offers virtual consultations with medical providers and video consultations. This is part of Amazon’s increasing interest in the health care sector.
Many Seattle protesters arrested are white, from other cities
Announced in October 2020. When they analyzed the arrest records of over 100 people from the Seattle Protests, they found that nearly 50% of those arrested were white. The violence that took place in Downtown Seattle in May has only now been analyzed and the results not only showed that 50% of protesters were white. But also that only 32% of suspects listed Seattle as their home town.
Virtual Story Time at UW Miller Library
Individuals and organizations continue to find creative ways to provide services during the various lockdowns of 2020. The Miller Library opens each month for stories and activities that celebrate gardens in normal times, but with the extraordinary situation we now find ourselves they have switched their monthly event to a virtual one, and in November 20202 the theme is VIRTUAL Young Gardeners Story Time It is the resilience of the community that has allowed Seattle to continue during 2020.
Washington News in the holiday season
Lake City shopping center fire was intentionally set
The fire that destroyed a strip of businesses in the Lake City neighborhood of Seattle was intentionally set according to the fire department. Police say that had a caller who told them that they saw individuals running away and the fire department investigators are positive that the cause was incendiary. The incident was first reported as a burglary, and while the caller was on the phone he told the police that the businesses were on fire.
The fire quickly spread through the void space in the roofs and other businesses caught fire. Within 30 minutes the roof had collapsed. The whole strip mall was destroyed and all the businesses closed down. Some business owners are already talking about rebuilding.
Mayor Durkan Announces $1.2 Million in Funding for Black & Tan Hall
In a pre-Christmas announcement, Seattle had some good news in what has been a pretty awful year for Seattle was the announcement that the Mayor has awarded $1.2 million for Black & Tan to find a new venue, which will open its doors in 2021. Black & Tan is an important community-based organization.
The investment in this worthy cause is a symbol of the determination of Seattle to bounce back from 2020 with renewed vigor.